Turmeric as well as one of its main ingredients, curcumin, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory activity. A new study from the journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluates curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. In this randomized controlled clinical trial 117 participants, who had already been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, were split in half to either receive one gram of curcumin or placebo for 8 weeks. The researchers measured levels of three inflammation blood markers at the beginning and end of the study. They found the participants who took curcumin had improved blood levels of all three inflammatory biomarkers as well as reduced fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of long term blood sugar levels. “The findings of our studies, along with clinical findings reported by other groups, indicate the usefulness of daily use of curcumin supplement for the prevention and treatment of several diseases,” the study’s senior author states. Curcumin has strong antioxidant and antiinflammaotry properties which give the compound its therapeutic effects. The authors advise that even at high doses curcumin is a very safe natural supplement, but should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women. How do you incorporate curcumin and turmeric into your diet?
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According to a recent study conducted in 220 diabetic patients, playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus for half an hour a day over three months can improve health. Type 2 diabetic patients were randomized into a group that used the game and a control group. After 12 weeks, researchers found that patients in the intervention group had an improvement in HbA1c, lost weight as well as improved their blood glucose levels. How do you try to stay active during the holiday season?
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A recent study published in Nutrition Journal examined if consuming 1/2 an avocado either with lunch meals or post lunch meals would influence satiety and post-prandial rise in blood glucose levels. This randomized, single-blind cross-over study included 26 healthy but overweight adults between the ages of 40-51 years. Since avocados are about 70% water, they make an excellent addition to meals in terms of increasing meal volume as well as fiber intake. Both fiber and medium energy dense foods are thought to increase post meal satiety. Study participants received treatments one the same day of the week with a one week washout period in between. Results showed that the avocado addition to meals increased satiety by 26% with a 40% decrease in a desire to eat over a 3-5 hour post lunch period. In addition, blood sugar levels were significantly decreased over a 3 hour postprandial period. Although a longer study with more participants should be done for more conclusive results, this study shows a great benefit of incorporating avocado post meals as a simple dietary intervention. What are your favorite avocado recipes?
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A recent Israeli study presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona (Sept 25, 2013) reported that type 2 diabetics who ate a bigger breakfast had lowered blood sugars. Those in the big breakfast group consumed approximately 30% of daily calories for breakfast (consisting of more protein and fat) compared to 12.5% for those in the small breakfast group. Researchers found that over a 3 month period, patients who were in the large breakfast group had a reduction in blood glucose levels and blood pressure, reported less hunger, and cut back on daily diabetic medication. How often do you discuss breakfast with your patients? What are your typical breakfast foods recommendations for diabetics?
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A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the “truth” behind “food addiction”. Researches have enrolled 12 men, who were either overweight or obese. Participants were assigned to a two milkshake “meal” that had the same amount of calorie, taste and sweetness. However one had a high glycemic index carbohydrates (HGIC), and the other one had low glycemic index carbohydrates (LGIC). The study used MRI assessing a four hour postprandial brain activity, in addition to blood sugar and hunger levels. Results revealed that HGIC such as white bread, seem to activate neurological centers focused on cravings and reward, a center that is also known for addiction. How surprised are you by the results of this research?
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A small study conducted in India suggests that there is association between extract of coffee beans and blood glucose control. Thirty normal weight men and women without diabetes were evaluated and green coffee bean extract appeared to lower blood glucose in those individuals. What do you typically recommend to patients with blood glucose control issues? Have you recommended green coffee bean extract before?
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Could apples help you keep your blood sugar in check? A new study published in PLoS ONE, found a compound called ursolic acid, which is naturally found in apples, helped mice to gain less weight and to keep their blood sugar levels more stable. What dietary and lifestyle recommendations do you make to your patients to help them maintain a healthy weight and blood sugar?